Common Questions Asked of Maine Farm Bureau

What is the Maine Farm Bureau?
The Maine Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization.  It is the unified voice in preserving and growing Maine’s agriculture.  Maine Farm Bureau works to ensure the future stability and profitability of Maine’s natural resource business through advocacy and support regarding legislation, marketing and education, and consumer awareness.

What are some examples of the advocacy work of Maine Farm Bureau?

  • Enacted legislation providing sales tax exemptions on items used in agricultural production, including machinery, feed, fertilizer and seed.
  • Classified horticulture as agriculture allowing for sales tax exemptions
  • Classified raising and keeping of equines as agricultural production allowing for sales tax exemptions
  • Enacted Equine Limit to Liability Law prohibiting equine owners from being sued for the “inherent risks” of being around equines
  • Enacted Agritourism Limit to Liability Law prohibiting owners being sued for the “inherent risks” of being on a farm
  • Enacted legislation providing sale tax exemption of electricity used in agricultural production
  • Enacted legislation allowing farmers to erect farm signs

What are the financial benefits to being a Farm Bureau member?
Farm Bureau members receive the following:

  • 5% savings on Farm Family’s Personal Auto Insurance and a 3% savings on Farm Family’s Special Farm Package “10” (SFP “10”) Country Estate Insurance and Business owners Insurance.
  • $300 – $500 discount on Case IH agricultural tractors or equipment
  • 10%-60% discount on Grainger products plus free shipping
  • 20% discounts on Choice Hotels
  • 15% – 30% discounts on Wyndham Hotels
  • Discounts on Hertz Rentals

Click here for a full list of benefits.

How does Maine Farm Bureau achieve its positions?
Maine Farm is a true grassroots organization working from the ground up.  Farmers meet locally, discussing issues to get approved at the county Farm Bureau level.  Then it moves up to the Maine Farm Bureau state annual meeting.  If the voting delegates vote to support something, then it becomes Maine Farm Bureau policy.

How do I get a sales tax certificate of exemption card?
Persons engaged in commercial agriculture production are authorized to use a certificate of exemption card to purchase electricity and depreciable machinery, exempt from Maine sales and use tax.  Maine Revenue Services provides an application at www.state.me.us/revenue.  As proof that the person is to engage in agricultural production, the applicant must provide the most recent IRS filing of either the Schedule F, Form 1120 or Form 1120s, or Form 1065.

If I paid a sales tax on an exempt item, can I apply for a refund?
A person engaged in commercial production may apply for a sale tax refund on qualified sales tax exemption items from Maine Revenue Services.  It must be done within three years of the purchase.

Do I have to register my farm?
There are no state laws requiring the registration of a farm.  There are laws, however, requiring certain licenses, such as selling milk or processed foods on a farm.

What is the Right-to-Farm Law?
Under Maine’s Right-to-Farm Law, a farm may not be considered a public or private nuisance if the farm alleged to be a nuisance conforms to Best Management Practices as determined by the Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

What is the Farm and Open Space Law?
The Farm and Open Space Tax Law provides for the valuation of land which has been classified as farmland based on its current use as farmland rather than its fair market value.  The minimum size is five contiguous acres used for farming, agriculture or horticultural activities.  The tract must contribute to a gross income of at least $2,000 per year of agricultural products in one of two or three of the five calendar years preceding the date of application.  Penalty of withdrawal for less than five years is paying back the taxes saved plus interest.  After five years, the penalty is paying the taxes saved plus interest for the preceding five years.  Application is with the town assessor.  Deadline for application is April 1.

Do I have to register my farm tractor?
Farm tractors used only for farming and going to and from a farmer’s field or lot, or a filling station or garage for fuel or repairs, do not have to be registered nor do you need a driver’s license to operate them.

When can I use a farm truck registration license plate?
You may use a farm plate if the truck is used primarily in conjunction with the operation of a farm and the farmer’s private transportation.  A truck may not have a farm plate if the truck is used for delivery, timber-harvesting, or for-hire-related work.  There is no limit to how far a farm truck may travel based on the registration.

What are the restrictions of a farm truck partial inspection?
If the partial inspection is obtained, the farm truck is limited to a 20-mile radius of the farm, and the name of the town must be painted on both sides of the truck.  The partial inspection includes running gear, steering mechanism, brakes, exhaust system, lights, safety glass and tires.